Estimating dementia cases in the immigrant population living in Italy
The phenomenon of dementia among immigrants and ethnic minorities represents an emerging challenge for Western countries. The aim of the present study was to estimate the number of dementia cases among immigrant subjects residing in Italy and in each Italian region to provide pivotal information on the magnitude of such public health issue.
The number of immigrant individuals, aged 65 years or older, living in Italy and in the 20 Italian regions was derived by the 2017 data of the National Institute for Statistics. The dementia prevalence rates were taken from the European data provided by the Neurologic Diseases in the Elderly Research Group. The estimated dementia cases were calculated by multiplying the number of immigrants with the age- and sex-specific prevalence rates.
Overall, 186,373 older immigrant subjects lived in Italy in January 2017. Nearly 7700 dementia cases were estimated in this population (5022 among women, 2725 among men). When considering each specific Italian region, the number of estimated cases ranged from 19 (Basilicata) to 1500 (Lombardia) with a marked inter-regional variability.
Our findings indicate that the occurrence of dementia among immigrants and ethnic minorities constitutes a novel but already relevant issue for our healthcare systems. A non-negligible number of immigrant individuals is probably already seeking or might seek help for cognitive disturbances, thus potentially referring to general practitioners and/or to the Italian dementia services. The forecasted increasing magnitude of this phenomenon reinforces the need for tailored and locally oriented initiatives and policies.
KeywordsDementia Immigrants Ethnic minorities Public health
The “Dementia in immigrants and ethnic minorities living in Italy: clinical-epidemiological aspects and public health perspectives” (ImmiDem) project is supported by a grant of the Italian Ministry of Health (GR-2016-02364975).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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